Monday, November 3, 2008

The Long Weekend - Part I

The plan was only a rough sketch and even then only covered the first day of our trip. There have been some places I've always wanted to visit or travel through and Friday, Saturday and Sunday was the opportunity to do just that.

Friday morning I slept in and we didn't leave the house until almost noon. The destination this day would be Portsmouth, Ohio. Normally, a trip to Portsmouth would take about 3 hours, but I had plans to stretch it out to about 5 or 6.

The sunshine was brilliant and the air was cool as we traveled SR 37 to Lancaster. I love older, nostalgic downtowns and Lancaster, while small, has been revitalized and is quaint and inviting.

We traveled US 22 to Circleville and then US 23 to Chilicothe and then Piketon. Chilicothe was the first capital of Ohio. Piketon was the home home of a uranium enrichment plant, I believe, that closed up shop and left a nasty mess to be cleaned up.

At Piketon, we turn west on SR 32. This would take us into Brush Creek State forest.

While the trees in northeastern Ohio have pretty much moved well past their prime fall colors, southern Ohio still has some great variety.

After a few miles on SR 32, we stopped at a rest area for a chance to stretch our legs. I walked over towards a bench in a grassy area when Teresa shrieked and said, "You've got bugs all over you!"

Asian lady bugs were swarming in the area and every step we took scattered dozens of them. That explained the condition of my windshield after we started riding again.

We turn north west on SR 73 for a few miles until we stopped here:

There was good news and bad news about the Serpent Mound State Memorial. The bad news was that the museum and gift shop were closed for the season, since Labor Day. The good news was that the parking was free.

Areal photos of the mounds led me to believe they covered several acres, but in actuality the site is much smaller and easily walked.

I wondered if any ancient Indian ghosts were upset by our presence. Perhaps, but they never spoke up.

After a pleasant time with the entire memorial to ourselves, we departed and followed SR 73 south and east through the Brushy Creek and Shawnee State Forests.

The roads were in great shape with almost no traffic. The combination of tree lined shoulders and the late afternoon sun created a strobe effect of light/dark, light/dark as we rode. Almost mesmerizing.

After about another hour we approached Portsmouth. Portsmouth is another of those quaint, historic towns that time seems to have forgotten about.

Except of the local state community college and the new bridge, of course.

We checked into our hotel about an hour before sunset. We traveled about 150 miles and meandered around for about 6 hours.

One incredible day down. Two more days to go. Could it get any better?

(To be continued:)

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